Spending on happiness

Spending on happiness

Money can’t buy you love but it can buy happiness-as long as it’s money for someone else. New research by HBS professor Michael I. Norton and colleagues Elizabeth W. Dunn and Lara B. Aknin, described in the journal Science, looks into how and why spending money on others promotes happiness.

Norton explains more in this Q&A. Key concepts include:

How much money people earn is less important for their happiness than how they choose to spend it.

Although people believe that having money leads to happiness, new research suggests they are happier if at least some of the money is given to others.

Companies might want to think creatively about how to encourage employees to spend their bonuses. Likewise, organizations could look at alternate ways to participate in charitable giving.

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